Core scripture: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4)
Message: I lost a friend recently. After battling cancer for 21 years, Brad Yantis went to be with the Lord. Brad’s legacy touched so many lives through his 59 years, and I was no exception. Today I want to pass on his story to you and how he touched my life.
My roots with Brad take me back to my first year of teaching at Pioneer Trail way back in 2003. Every teacher remembers their first year of teaching. Mine was dismal. I will spare you the details, but let’s just say I learned a lot. Lucky for me, Brad and I had lunchroom supervision duty together.
Every day I got to see his smile in the cafeteria. He was like a big brother to me. The veteran teacher that took the young rookie under his wing. Talking my day over with men like him helped me keep sane, and when my world seemed like it was crashing down, Brad was always there to help pick up the pieces.
One memorable lunch stands out to me. A student tapped me on the shoulder and gestured across the cafeteria.
“Uh, you can see her underwear,” she pointed.
Brad and I glanced across the room. Oh dear! Yep. There it was. This girl, leaning over the lunch table, exposed the top half of her … uh … thong below. There were no female teachers in sight to address this issue as Brad and I chuckled nervously.
“Well,” he smiled down at me. “You’re the rookie.”
Brad exploded with laughter as I hesitantly made that long walk across the lunchroom to tell the girl about her underwear. Nothing bad happened. She embarrassingly pulled up her pants, and I high-tailed it back to Brad where he shook my hand, allowing my flush face to return to normal.
“Every teacher has their moment to shine,” Brad laughed at me. “You just had yours.”
That’s what big brothers do, right? I learned so much from Brad that first year of teaching, soaking in his wisdom. He was grooming me without me even knowing it, and it was sad to say goodbye at the end of the year. My second year of teaching led me to Indian Trail where I have been for the last 16 years.
Lucky for me, we kept in touch through the years, coaching against each other and catching up at district teacher meetings. His patented smile always greeted me. Then, in 2014, when I started Fellowship of Christian Athletes at my middle school, I found out Brad was doing the same at his new school, Chisholm Trail.
I began working part time for FCA as an associate, uniting the Olathe huddles, and Brad was always there. We bonded and communicated ideas how to share our faith with students at Starbuck’s over coffee. He was faithfully serving the Lord even through his numerous cancer treatments.
I never knew how bad it was until his name appeared on a prayer request. Brad traveled all the way to Vienna, Austria last winter for cancer treatments. Upon his return, he was feeling great. But as you know, cancer has an audacious, sneaky way of coming and going.
The last time I saw Brad was on a Zoom call for FCA during quarantine in March. There he was, bedridden and weak, and he was still giving his heart to the Lord. He could have used his infirmity as an excuse not to communicate, but that wasn’t Brad. He was all in.
I get to pay my respects to Brad and his family this Saturday at his Celebration of Life. Although I have not met any of them, I hope they know how much Brad meant to me. He was a man who gave his heart to God’s glorious plan, and I can only hope to live the rest of my life with the same passion.
Goodbye, Brad. I will see you again, my friend. Until then.
Brad’s Obituary: There were so many amazing stories about my friend that I never knew about in his beautifully written obituary. You can read it on the link below.
Prayer: Father, thank you for Christian men like Brad Yantis. May we all live our lives with a passion for You as he did. Amen.